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Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, is delighted to be attending the opening of the Aotea Conservation Park on Great Barrier Island today.

The park will be officially opened by the Minister of Conservation, Hon Maggie Barry, in the presence of local community members and iwi.

“This is a great day for the people of the Barrier and New Zealand, as it means this land can now be protected and enjoyed for generations.

“The conservation park covers 12,282 ha or around 43% of the Island, making it the largest park of conservation status in Auckland and comparable in size to the Hunua and Waitakere Ranges parks.

“I would like to acknowledge the work that Ms Barry has done to enable the opening today.

“In September 2013, I put forward a proposal to establish the park, and after significant consultation it was confirmed by the Government last July.

“Since then, Ms Barry has worked quickly and collaboratively with the Department of Conservation to bring the park to fruition, and ensure the community and local iwi were at the heart of the project.

“The next steps will be to ensure a strong Aotea Conservation park advisory committee, with good iwi and community representation to ensure management of the park is world-class.

“There’s been a lot happening on the island recently, with the government investing more than $2 million towards repairing storm damage to the Aotea track. This is a great attraction for people who want to see first-hand the beautiful birds, flora and fauna the island has to offer.

“Over the last 5 years, the government has also invested more than $1 million in telecommunications, while the Auckland Council has made significant investments in local roads and the Community Arts Heritage Village has been developed.

“It will also be great to formally open the Great Barrier Island Community Olive press this afternoon with Ms Barry. This will be an important asset to help grow the island’s economy.

“Many of these initiatives are community projects driven by committed locals, who I have had the privilege to work with.

“With attractions such as the new Aotea Conservation Park, Great Barrier Island is a real treasure and I hope more people will visit to see some of the best of New Zealand.

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